IRELAND’S prime minister has formally apologised for ‘profound failure’ that led to around 9,000 children dying in cruel mother and baby homes.
An inquiry found an ‘appalling’ 15 per cent mortality rate among babies born in homes, mostly run by the Catholic church, from 1922 to 1998.
Micheál Martin (pictured) said: ‘On behalf of the government, the state and its citizens, I apologise for the profound generational wrong visited upon Irish mothers and their children who ended up in a mother and baby home or a county home.
‘I apologise for the shame and stigma they were subjected to and which, for some, remains a burden. The state failed you.’
Residents compared the homes to prisons where nuns verbally abused them. Others suffered traumatic labours without pain relief.
Illegitimate babies were mistreated because — like their unmarried mums — the were seen as a stain on Ireland’s devout image.
The Catholic church apologised ‘unreservedly’. Survivors’ groups said the report was ‘truly shocking’ but had failed to fully acknowledge the state’s role in running homes.
A religious order that ran a Co. Galway home where 796 children died said it ‘did not live up to our Christianity’ at the time.